Our former third Premier and first Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Errol Walton Barrow P.C.,Q.C., would indeed be proud.
On our 55th Anniversary of Independence this year, Barbados will have officially removed the English monarch as head of state, joining Haiti, T&T, Guyana and a few other countries in the region in becoming a Republic.
Is it a matter of Sovereignty? Of right to Self-Determination? Or is it a matter of ownership, hence of true Independence, by definition?
In his speech in December 1966 on the occasion of Barbados’ acceptance into the U.N. Prime Minister Barrow stated:
“We shall not involve ourselves in sterile ideological wranglings because we are exponents not of the diplomacy of power, but of the diplomacy of peace and prosperity. We will not regard any great power as necessarily right in a given dispute unless we are convinced of this, yet at the same time we will not view the great powers with perennial suspicion merely on account of their size, their wealth, or their nuclear potential. We will be friends of all, satellites of none.”
Do I want Barbados to become a Republic? No. Not really. I am not too keen on the idea.
A Parliamentary Democracy, without a monarch system does not necessarily mean a Republic. Or does it???
But it is not what I want that matters. It is what is expedient, or more accurately, necessary for our country.
The fast changing world means we have to search ourselves as a nation, and redefine and reposition ourselves so as to be able to face the unscripted future on our own terms without fear that the political shackles of another country, however seemingly insignificant, could suddenly entangle and disempower us.
As many people have pointed out Barbados 🇧🇧 has functioned as independent from the monarchy in all ways despite the appellation of Queen Elizabeth as de jure Head of State. Perhaps it is the image that needs to be erased, however faint or obscure it is. Perhaps some see that image as a stamp that does not correlate with who we are or want to be. Perhaps some Bajans see it as a stigma.
Or perhaps the idea has been mooted and discussed for so long this can be the only resolution. The only way to cauterise this niggling sore once and for all.
Reardless of the ground root, the removal of the English Monarchy at this time is in my considered opinion 🙂 the only way to go.
We must be able to stand alone and to be seen to do so without the shadow of doubt that is a constitutional Monarchy. Should we have to make particular alignments within a new world economy that is now unfolding we need to be able to do so without glancing over our shoulder, or, more annoyingly, having to answer suppositions as to our freedom to act.
Do I want Barbados to become a Republic? No. Not really. I am not particularly keen on the idea.
Does Barbados need to get rid of its presumed ties with the English Monarchy? Yes.
Such perceived ties on such a political level presupposes an ideology of loyalty – in some persons’ minds – and indicates some sort of allegiance.
And as Prime Minister Mottley is reported by the BBC to have said in a speech in September last year, “This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving,”
As far as gains to be had we will have to say that it is a question of political stature as pertaining to the country’s collective mentality; and maybe more so to the recognition and perception within the international community of Barbados’ place in the world, as in world political and economic affairs.
My only concern, the reason I am not keen on the idea is summed up in the saying: “we know what we have, we don’t know what we’re going to get”. The examples of our neighbouring islands who went down this road are not always inspiring. But that was then, this is now. Now the whole world itself is repositioning in ways akin to a baby in the womb readying for the birth.
We must be ready to deal with and manage any ensuing chaos without fetters. And certain political fetters are the hardest to disentangle no matter how feather-light they may feel. Better to do so now, before the birth, than to try doing so once that baby is born; it would be like batting on a sticky wicket.
Should Barbados become a Republic? Yes, if it is the only way of removing ourselves from under the shadow, of ridding our country of “association” with the English Monarchy.
The decision has been made.
I take comfort in the fact that it is our current Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley who is Captaining our side. She is very possibly the only one who can lead us out on to this Republic wicket successfully. She is, in my opinion, the right person for the job.
The time is now.
Good Luck Barbados.
And finally, if you do nothing else today, please listen to this: (For The Good of Humanity)
“I think that we in the West Indies should not be afraid to speak our minds. I think that we in the West Indies should not be looking around for somebody to lead and work out our own political and economic philosophy and I do not think that it pays any West Indian politician to either look too rapidly in the direction of Europe or Asiatic countries for our basic philosophies of life.” – Rt. Hon. E.W.Barrow, (then Premier) on the occasion of the first Barbados Financial Statement and BudgetaryProposal, 1962